Wednesday, April 30, 2008

81 miles for April & new goals for 2008

I haven't got a run in this week yet mostly due to lack of time and poor conditions (wind). It just isn't fun to go out there for an easy recovery run when the wind is blowing at over 30 mph.

My mileage total for April was 81. This was the first month of the year under 100 miles.

After a marathon, actually before the marathon, I started to think about what I wanted to do afterward. My goal is to run a 5k on July 4th in the low 18 minute range and if my hamstring feels good possibly going under 18 minutes. My left medial hamstring is still really sore and tight.

I would also like to try some of the local summer series cross country races, which are 5k distance.

If I am able to run the Santa Clarita Marathon I would like to better my course record there which is 1:22:42 in 2006.

Then I would like to pace Clay to a low 3:20s marathon at the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA.

Here is a link to some pictures of a female runner from Stanford that had a tough day on the track at the Penn Relays.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Boston Marathon Weekend Recap +3 mile recovery run

I didn't really get to write a full recap of the weekend yet so here it goes.

I got into Boston at 6 am on Saturday which was 6 hours earlier than expected to do a last minute flight change. I sat next to an off duty flight attendant who gave me some tips on how to get into Boston from the airport. With the good advice I was downtown Boston by 6:40 and it was a beautiful morning. They were setting up the finish line which hadn't even been repainted yet. I got some coffee and a bagel and had breakfast at Boston Common.
The expo opened at 9am so I was one of the first inside. The line to get your bib number was already long so I just went in to the main floor area. I happened to walk by the Jet Blue booth where Bart Yasso was signing his new book and I was one of the first 50 people in line who got the book for free. I also got in line early to meet Ryan Hall, men's olympic trials marathon winner, see picture.

I also heard a panel speak that included Amby Burfoot, Katherine Switzer, Dick Beardsley, Greg Meyer and Joan Benoit Samuelson and got a few autographs there. I got the souvenirs I wanted, which included two unexpected size 13 pairs of Asics Gel-Kayanos for $40 a piece. I barely made the commuter train out to Framingham and got picked up by my hosts, Dave and Camille Foster. Their hospitality was unbelievable. I got everywhere I needed to be on time and we had a great time sharing stories. Dave ran the course about 18 years ago as a bandit.

The next day Dave got me to the airport shuttle at 6am so I could get into Boston early enough to see the US Women's Olympic Trials Marathon which started at 8am. I got down in plenty of time and bought a collapsable chair at a drugstore (the best 6 dollars I spent the whole trip). I just parked myself on the side of the road and got to watch the start and see them run by 4 other times. It was an incredible race as the top females in the country battled for 3 spots on the team.

The winner Deena Kastor is in the middle of the picture in the white hat. After she won she ran back onto the course with an American flag in hand, like a victory lap. She happened to be on my side of the road and happened to sign an 8x10 that I printed before I left. She signed it "Dreams Come True, Deena." I also got Joan Benoit Samuelson to sign a photo after she set an American record for the marathon for females over 50 years old (2:49:08). I spotted Alan Webb near the athletes exit an he signed my cap that I wore on race day.

Afterward I went back into the expo to hear a few other quick seminars. One included Grete Waitz (9 time NY Marathon winner), and Jen Rhines (US 5k 10k hopeful). The other included Andrew Carlson (15k national champ), Todd Williams (former US 10k Olympian), and Coach Greg McMillan out of Flagstaff, AZ who I was most interested in hearing from. I asked Greg what is the one thing I could do to take my training to the next level and his answer was, "Consistency."

I got back into the expo one last time and got to meet and get autographs from Frank Shorter (1972 Olympic Marathon Champ) and Bill Rodgers (4 time Boston Marathon winner). See pictures below.
I was able to swing by Fenway Park for a quick photo before barely making my train back to my hosts house for the evening. We had some great chicken and pesto pasta that night and I went to bed early.

I got to sleep in on race day! What a concept! The race didn't start until 10am so we left around 7:30 to get to the bus pick up at Hopkinton State Park. I was not rushed at all and even had time to sit and relax in my chair for a few minutes before the start.

I got to my corral about 20 minutes early, too early, and once the race started it only took me one minute to cross the starting line. The rest is history.

I was right on my goal for 30k but after 23 miles, a left hamstring cramp, three black toe nails, and some hydration issues due to the unexpected heat, I had to walk a few times the last 5k, but ran the last 1.2 miles to finish in 3:13:56. I talked with plenty of other people afterward that dealt with similar issues that ended up not requalifying, which made me feel a little better. Overall it was an incredible experience, and I accomplished a goal that I have been thinking about for many years. My time was my third fastest marathon time yet. It makes me hungry enough to want to try it again some day to better my time.

The trip home was uneventful except for sharing a flight from Phoenix to Burbank with actor, Jim Caviezel.

Yesterday I got to be a spectator at a 10k at CSUN that my wife Andi and her friend Dawn ran. The two of them ran 49:21 and got 2nd and 3rd in their age group. See Andi's Blog.
Two of Clay's children also did well in the 5k. See Clay's Blog.

Today was my first recovery run since the marathon. I ran about 3 miles with Andi and the boys taking turns pushing the jogger. My hamstring and calf on the left are still pretty tight and 3 miles was about all I could do. I did some good stretching afterward. My right leg feels great.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Karl finishes the Boston Marathon (3:13:56)

Well the Boston Marathon has come and gone. It was a much more challenging course that I thought. They don't call it "Heartbreak Hill" for nothing. Actually the first of the 4 hills in Newton was just as hard because it was so long, and I think that really sucked the energy out of my legs. The picture above was taken just after the half way point when I was still feeling good. I still have a smile on my face.

I felt great at the start and it was really hard to hold back and stay on goal pace for the first 10k of the race as people just kept flying by me. I started to get a cramp in my left hamstring around mile 7 that was enough to make me shorten my stride a bit. It didn't affect my time until I got to the hills and needed to use the hamstring more and it basically shut down.

The weather was also a factor. It was about 50 degrees at the start which felt great, but by mile 7 or 8 the sun was beating down on us with no cloud cover and it felt like the temperatures were reaching over 70 degrees. I tried to hydrate early and often but it was more of an impact than I anticipated.

I was right on pace at the half marathon mark and even at the 30k mark I was on pace to be close to 3 hours but after that my legs had had enough and the last 5k I had to walk a few times due to the hamstring and feeling a little dizzy at times. I was able to run the last 1.2 miles without stopping but my last 5k was almost 30 minutes.

My 5k splits were 20:43, 21:07, 21:07, 21:19, 21:02, 22:22, 24:06, and 29:56.

Overall times were:
20:43 5k
41:50 10k
1:02:57 15k
1:24:16 20k
1:28:48 half marathon
1:45:18 25k
2:07:40 30k
2:31:46 35k
3:01:42 40k
3:13:56 marathon finish

My overall place was 3052, 2822 male, and 1836 in my age group.

Overall it was an incredible experience and I would love to come back some day to try and better my time. It was my 3rd fastest marathon time ever after Grandma's and Las Vegas. The heat and the hamstring were unfortunate events that I could not predict. My overall pace was 7:26. The Wellesley girls at mile 13 were deafening and the race is the most well run I have been at.

There were some great signs along the course, here are a few:
"Forget politics, this is the important race"
"May the course be with you"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Last run before leaving...8 miles (60 min)

I was feeling really stale and the weather was supposed to be nice so I went for an 8 mile run this morning. I took it really easy, 7:30 pace feels pretty easy. It was just what I needed as I worked out some of the kinks I was feeling this week.

Mile splits were 7:50, 7:38, 7:31, 7:25, 7:14, 7:01, 6:59, 7:58.

My goal is to run the first 16 miles at around 6:45 pace, then hold steady at around 7:00 pace for the next 4 miles up the hills, and then give it all I have left for the last 10k. We will see how it plays out.

There is a 20% chance of rain as of today. The high should be in the upper 50s with possible wind from the east (in our face at the end).

I hope to be able to update the blog while I am there. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 14, 2008

No turning back now! One week to go!

With exactly one week to go it is time to start checking the weather daily. The weather for Boston on April 21st is now predicted to be 44-55 degrees and partly cloudy. It may rain the next day. I hope the weather doesn't speed up. The weather for Lancaster is supposed to be, can you guess, windy all week. So I decided to run Monday morning instead of Tuesday. I just got in a nice easy 4 miles in 30 minutes.

The reason I say "No turning back now" is that the Antelope Valley Press printed an article on the three of us from the AV that are running the Boston Marathon this year. They are going to do a follow up on our results after the race. See the article below.

There was some great marathon news today. The London Marathon was this weekend and Ryan Hall was running it in preparation for Beijing. It was the fastest marathon of all time as the top 6 finishers were all under 2:07. See the results article here and here. Ryan Hall was 2:06:17 which was a 3 minute PR and puts him second fastest US marathoner ever. See video interview here.

Here is another good interview with Joan Benoit-Samuelson who, at the age of 50, will be running the US Women's Olympic Trials Marathon with a goal of 2:50 (6:30 pace).

Here is the Runner's World expert poll to predict the 3 qualifiers for the Olympic Marathon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

6 mile run (start of taper)

I had some trouble with my Garmin this morning so I have no idea how fast I was running. I tried to take it easy, between 7:30 to 7:45 pace for most of the way. I think I picked it up a little bit the last 1.5 miles. Total mileage was around 6 miles approximately, again no help from Garmin. When I got home I did 4x75m striders or pick-ups concentrating on form. I feel really good and am excited to see what kind of marathon time I have in me.

After the run we took Matt to his first swim class of the year. It ended up being 30 minutes of play time as there was no instruction or organization to the class. Matt and I had a blast though. He loves the water. Also, Micah got on the swings for the first time today. See pictures.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

9 miles at marathon pace (61:45)

Today was probably my last run at a higher intensity. It was also the nicest day in the last two weeks (NO WIND). I ran 9 miles (61:45) at marathon pace (6:52). It was a great run but tough to realize that I have to keep up that pace for another 17 miles, YIKES!

My mile splits were 7:32, 7:19, 6:59, 7:01, 6:52, 6:31, 6:29, 6:31, 6:27. It takes me about 2-3 miles to really get rolling, but I settle into a comfortably hard pace nicely. It was my fastest 9 mile run so far this year with only about 85% effort.

The weather forecast for Boston goes out to April 19th right now. The predict that Saturday will be sunny with the low-high temps 44-54 degrees. Sounds perfect to me. I hope I am not jinxing myself here.

I found a cool article online that ranks marathons based on their percentage of Boston qualifiers and then by number of Boston qualifiers. The Boston Marathon is #1, Duh, but there are some other interesting races that I didn't think of. St. George and Sacramento are known to be fast courses. Grandma's Marathon, where I set my PR (2:58:37), is on the list for number of qualifiers. If you are looking for a good Boston qualifying course check out the article here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

5 mile easy run (39:30)

I felt a little stale this morning, just sluggish getting out of bed. It took the first three miles to warm up today. Although I have been getting up early for the last four months I am still not a morning person and have never been. This may be to my advantage as the Boston Marathon start time is 10am. I will still have to get up much earlier to get to the athlete village in plenty of time but nothing like getting up at 4 am to make it to the start of the LA marathon in time.

Averaged just under 8 min pace but the last 2 miles were around 7:20 pace. The wind has barely let up around here. Thursday morning is supposed to be a little less windy so I will try and get in a good run then.

The highlight of my run this morning came with 1.5 miles to go running home on 45th St. West as 4 coyotes crossed the road in front of me, one at a time. The third one spotted me and ran across the road a little faster to keep distance. They were headed into town. I wonder where they ended up.

I received the new Runner's World Magazine today and it includes a preview of the US Women's Olympic Trials Marathon. There are some incredible stories there. Of the 150 entrants almost 10% (14) are considered Masters division (over 40). See Pick up a copy it is a great read. Also some good information for beginning runners.

I found the article on Lance Armstrong's training especially interesting as it is not too far off from my own training just a little faster and no cycling for me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

50th Post!! 8 miles in 56:30 on treadmill

It was windy again today. I am sick and tired of the wind. There were 35-40 mph gusts this afternoon. I woke up at 6am, which is usually the calmest time of day, and it was already 15 plus mph. I drove up to the aqueduct parked, got out of the car, and turned right back around.

I am so tired of the wind that I decided to run on the treadmill today. I can't even remember the last time I ran on a treadmill. I ran a total of 8 miles with the first mile at 7:30, the next 3 miles at 7:00, the next 2 at 6:50, one at 6:40 and a cool down mile in 7:30. Average pace was 7:04.

Pros of Treadmills
1. You can escape the wind, or other elements.
2. You can't cheat if you want to keep your pace even.

Cons of Treadmills
1. You don't go anywhere.
2. The ground moves underneath you making speeds feel easier.
3. There is no scenery, boring.
4. You really have to pay attention to where you put your feet.
5. You feel like you just got off a boat when you are done.

The Cons WIN! Treadmill running, although nice to escape the wind, is still awfully boring. I planned on running 10 miles but just couldn't bring my self to run more than an hour on the treadmill. It was nice to look out the window though and see the trees blowing over and not feel a thing!

6:50 pace felt easy as it should for only 6 miles. Was able to talk to Andi for 10 minutes while at that pace without breathing harder.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

7 mile progression run (50:23)

It was a nice morning for a run as it had rained a little last night. I wanted to ease into some faster miles at the end of the run with the last few miles around lactate threshold pace. My shin felt great the whole run with no post-run soreness.

Mile splits for the run were 8:07, 7:44, 7:26, 7:15, 6:53, 6:17, 6:36. Average pace was 7:12 over the 7 miles with 2 short hills thrown in.

I have been reviewing a video by coach Jack Daniels, no I haven't been drinking. It is a great video on training, periodization, and running physiology that is offered on

He talks about VO2max and lactate threshold and makes it fairly easy to understand how to correctly improve on these through training.
It is timely and costly to determine your VO2max but what is more important is your VO2max velocity or the speed at which you hit your VO2max, which he states is the top speed you can maintain for 10-12 minutes. Max HR is similar but not exactly the same.

Similarly, lactate threshold, another important level to improve on through training, is the point at which lactate accumulates more rapidy than your body is able to clear it. This speed ends up being about as fast as you can sustain for 1 hour when completely recovered, or somewhere between 10k to half marathon pace depending on your fitness level.

Hope this info helps some of you determine proper pacing on some of your training runs. This and other topics will be discussed at our next running clinic May 17th at Valley Physical Therapy Group in Lancaster, CA.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Recovery run 4 miles in 32 minutes

I slept in and only had time for a 4 mile run today. The weather has been great the last two days (no wind) and I haven't been able to take advantage. I got my headlamp in the mail yesterday, maybe I'll try it out on Thursday.

Total mileage for March was 121 miles, Clay I believe that means a tie. After a month off illness and injury we ended up tied for monthly mileage.
My projected mileage at the beginning of the month was 185, I fell a little short.

The Boston Marathon is being webcast live on the world championship sports network ( I think it requires a 4.95 annual subscription.

New rules are in place for wearing helmets at usatf races with more than 500 participants.